General speaks gain

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A day after Indian Army Chief, Gen Bipin Rawat spoke about having unconditional dialogue with Taliban, the General has once again raised the issue saying Taliban analogy cannt be applied to J&K. Probably while making this statement, the General had in mind the statements made by two former Chief Ministers of J&K – Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. The duo had, in separate statements, said that if unconditional talks could be advocated with Taliban, why the same are not held with Kashmiri separatists. The General, in a press conference held on Thursday said that same analogy cannot be applied to J&K. “It is a bilateral issue between us and our western neighbour. There is no place for any third party intervention. Here if we have to talk, we have to talk based on our terms and conditions,” Gen. Rawat was quoted as saying.

Gen Rawat is entitled to talk about any issue and every issue under the sky but what baffles one is the new trend emerging in the nation wherein Army Generals seem too eager to talk about political issues. Kashmir necessarily is a political issue and militancy here is just one segment of a broader dispute. Technically Army and other security agencies have to deal with this small segment and have no role in resolution of bigger issues. And that is how India used to be. But from past sometime, Army Generals have been becoming more proactive vis-à-vis issuing statements of political nature. These kind of statements by men in olive green doesn’t gel with the basic democratic structure of India and is not good for the health of the nation. We have seen how Army has messed up things in Pakistan. The political establishment has been rendered powerless and whatever the major decision – be it economic, strategic or regarding foreign affairs- are being dictated by the Army there. Allowing Army to meddle in the issue that are political in nature is bound to impact adversely the very basics of a nation state and that is what has been happening in Pakistan. Of late, unfortunately, such a trend is emerging in India too and need is to arrest it as soon as possible.

Conflicts, no matter how complicated these may be, are to be resolved through dialogue alone. India and Pakistan are two nuclear states and therefore thinking that the two would, at some stage, indulge into a war to resolve issues confronting them is naïve. They cannot and therefore the option left with both of the neighbours is to open up the communication links and start talking. It may not happen soon as India is gearing up for general elections and after losing three states to Congress in recently held assembly elections, NDA cannot afford to soften its stance vis-à-vis Pakistan at the moment. But talk they will have to. Therefore the political establishment of the nation should convey to the Army Chief not to make statements about issues that doesn’t fall under his domain. Yes, let him talk about militancy and infiltration; devise strategies to counter the same but let the political aspects of the issue be left to political leadership alone.

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